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Day 441 of the Invasion of Ukraine: A French journalist was Killed near Bakhmut

, Станимир Петков (Клуб на инвалидите - Сливен)

Излъчване: Tuida News | World | преди около 1 месец | 69


Day 441 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:

Transneft reported that the Druzhba pipeline was attacked near the border with Ukraine

Azov destroyed units of the Russian 72nd motorized rifle brigade near Bakhmut

Russia restored the visa-free regime for Georgians and lifted the ban on flights

The Kremlin called Poland's decision to rename Kaliningrad "a hostile act

Russia will denounce the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe

ISW: Russian troops have already advanced in Bakhmut

A French journalist was killed in Ukraine

British intelligence: Victory Day parade showed problems in the Russian army

"Politico": The US does not intend to send long-range missiles to Ukraine

France to the EU: "Wagner" should be designated as a terrorist group

US announces additional military aid of USD 1.2 billion for Ukraine

Transneft reported that the Druzhba pipeline was attacked near the border with Ukraine

The Russian oil pipeline operator Transneft said that a filling station of the Druzhba pipeline in a Russian region bordering Ukraine was attacked, the TASS agency reported, as quoted by Reuters.

"Transneft" announced that no one was injured in the incident, which it described as a "terrorist attack", writes TASS.

"Yes, indeed, early this morning there was an attempt to commit a terrorist act against the Druzhba oil pipeline at the Bryansk filling station," the Transneft spokesperson told TASS.

"As a result, no one was injured. The competent authorities are clarifying the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Early Wednesday, Baza, a Telegram channel with ties to Russian law enforcement, reported that three empty oil tanks had been attacked. There was no oil leak as a result of the attack, Baza explained.

Russian oil deliveries through the Druzhba pipeline do not fall under the sanctions introduced against Moscow, but European countries are trying not to use this oil transfer system much against the background of the general policy of sanctions against Russia.

The Druzhba pipeline has been attacked several times since the start of what the Kremlin describes as a special military operation in Ukraine last February. Oil supplies to eastern and central Europe through a section of the Druzhba system were cut off in November after a missile hit the power plant, located near the border with Belarus and supplying electricity to the oil station.

Attacks against the oil pipeline were also carried out in March in Russia's Bryansk region.

Azov destroyed units of the Russian 72nd motorized rifle brigade near Bakhmut

Fighters from the 3rd Separate Assault Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces destroyed units of the 72nd Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the Russian Federation during an offensive near Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, liberating part of Ukraine and capturing the occupiers.

This was stated by Andriy Biletsky, commander of the "Azov" tactical group, which is part of the 3rd Army Brigade.

According to him, the 6th and 8th companies of the Russian 72nd Brigade were actually completely destroyed.

"The reconnaissance of the brigade was defeated, a significant number of armored fighting vehicles were destroyed and a significant number of prisoners were taken. The offensive was carried out on a front 3 km wide and 2.6 km deep. This entire territory has been completely liberated from the Russian occupation forces," he said. Biletsky in a video posted on his Telegram profile.

Also, PMC Wagner's 3rd Assault Squad suffered heavy losses.

Mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin was the first to announce the escape of the 72nd Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces from the Bakhmut area and "500 corpses" of Russians on May 9. Now his words are confirmed.

According to the Ukrainian military, in two days the stormtroopers of the "Azov" tactical group liquidated 64 occupiers, 87 were "in critical condition" and another five opponents were captured.

Russia restored the visa-free regime for Georgians and lifted the ban on flights

Russia has restored visa-free travel for Georgian citizens and lifted a ban on direct flights between the two countries imposed in 2019, according to a decree published on the Russian government website and cited by Reuters.

In a statement, Russia's transport ministry said Russian airlines would operate seven flights a week between Moscow and the Georgian capital Tbilisi. It states that Russia wants to "facilitate the conditions for communication and contacts between residents of Russia and Georgia."

The move represents a sharp turn in relations between Moscow and Tbilisi, which were among the most strained in the former Soviet Union but have improved in recent years, while Georgia's ruling party has avoided attacking Moscow.

Russia grants citizens of most former Soviet republics visa-free access, but imposed visa restrictions on Georgians in 2000, citing the risk of terrorism in the North Caucasus region. Moscow banned direct flights to Georgia in 2019 following anti-Russian protests.

Georgia gives Russians visa-free access and full work rights for up to a year, making it one of the main destinations for Russians who have left their country since the start of the war in Ukraine.

Moscow and Tbilisi have not had formal diplomatic relations since 2008, when they fought a brief war over South Ossetia, a Russian-backed breakaway region of Georgia.


Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, whose position is largely ceremonial and who has repeatedly accused the ruling "Georgian Dream" party of having ties to Moscow since she was elected with its support in 2018, tweeted that the move by Russia is a "provocation". She said visa liberalization was "unacceptable" while Moscow's invasion of Ukraine continued. Georgian society remains strongly anti-Russian. However, the government has avoided taking an overtly anti-Russian stance since the start of what Moscow calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine, which began on February 24, 2022, and has refused to impose sanctions on Russia. In March, amid large street protests, the Georgian government abandoned attempts to pass a draft law regulating so-called "foreign agents". Critics said the bill was modeled after a Russian law they say has been used to undermine civil society there, and that it is a symbol of authoritarian change in Georgia.

The Kremlin called Poland's decision to rename Kaliningrad "a hostile act"

The Kremlin said that Poland's decision to rename the Russian city of Kaliningrad in its official documents was a "hostile act", Reuters reported.

Kaliningrad was known by the German name Königsberg until World War II, when it was annexed by the Soviet Union and renamed in honor of Soviet politician Mikhail Kalinin.

On Tuesday, Warsaw said that Kalinin's connection to the Katyn massacre in 1940 - when thousands of Polish officers were executed by Soviet forces - had negative connotations and that the city should now be called Krolewiec, its name when it was ruled by the Kingdom Poland in the XV-XVI centuries.

"The current Russian name of this city is an artificial naming that is not related to either the city or the region," the Polish Committee for Geographical Standardization said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the decision "borders on madness". "We know that throughout history Poland has occasionally fallen into this frenzy of hatred towards the Russians," he told a daily briefing.

Relations between Poland and Russia have historically often been very strained, including during and after World War II.

Moscow claims it liberated Poland when its forces drove out Nazi Germany's troops at the end of the war. Most Poles believe that the Soviet Union replaced the Nazi occupation with another form of repression.

Poland has strongly supported Ukraine since the invasion of Russia on February 24, 2022, and began to destroy monuments to fallen Soviet soldiers.

Russia will denounce the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe

Russia will denounce the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, also known as CFE. The issue will be considered in the Russian Duma.

At the behest of Vladimir Putin, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov will represent the Kremlin during the debates. The original Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) was negotiated and adopted in the final years of the Cold War, placing major limits on key categories of conventional military equipment in Europe and requiring the destruction of surplus armaments.

The treaty offers the same restrictions for NATO and Warsaw Pact member states. In 1999, there was an adapted version, ratified by only 4 countries, including Russia, although it was signed by 30 countries. In 2007, Moscow ended its participation in the CFE Treaty on the grounds that NATO countries should start implementing its provisions.

ISW: Russian troops have already advanced in Bakhmut

Russian troops continue to advance in Bakhmut. Geolocation footage shows that the occupiers have advanced even further into the western part of the city. This is according to a new report by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

Analysts note that the head of PMC "Wagner" Yevgeny Prigozhin has stated that the VSU struck with HIMARS on the site near Bakhmut where "Wagner" is holding captive Ukrainians, but ISW has not seen visual confirmation of this claim.

Analysts also point out that Prigozhin announced that his mercenaries would not be withdrawn from Bakhmut until May 10, as he had previously said, even though the Russian Ministry of Defense had not provided Wagner with additional shells. He stated that his mercenaries will continue to fight in Bakhmut and will continue to demand ammunition from the Russian Ministry of Defense.

ISW believes that Prigozhin's failure to follow through on his threat to withdraw from Bakhmut shows that he is aware of his dependence on the Russian Ministry of Defense.

"Prigozhin tried to blackmail the Russian Ministry of Defense to change the priorities of the offensive in Bakhmut so that he could claim victory in the city himself," the analysts explain.

The institute notes that according to some reports, the Wagnerites unsuccessfully tried to break through to Khromovo and actively block the remaining Ukrainian land logistics lines to Bakhmut.

Heavy fighting continues in the city. The Russian occupiers have thrown all their forces into the capture of Bakhmut, but the Ukrainian military continues to hold the defense.

This morning, the General Staff in Kyiv announced that Russian troops are concentrating their main efforts in the directions of Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Marinka. There were 46 attacks. The fiercest battles continue for the cities of Bakhmut and Marinka.

A French journalist was killed in Ukraine

Agence France-Presse's video coordinator for Ukraine, Arman Soldin, was killed in a rocket attack near the town of Chasov Yar, not far from Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, reported AFP journalists who witnessed the incident.

The AFP team came under “Grad” rocket fire while with a group of Ukrainian soldiers.

The 32-year-old journalist died after a rocket fell near his hideout. The rest of the team is unharmed.

"The agency is devastated by the loss of Arman. His death is a terrible reminder of the dangers journalists face in their daily coverage of the conflict in Ukraine," said Agence France-Presse Director General Fabrice Fries, quoted by BTA.

Soldin, who was born in Bosnia, is the 15th journalist killed in the war in Ukraine, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Since September, he has been living in Ukraine, where he leads the work of the team covering the conflict, and regularly travels to the front lines in eastern and southern Ukraine.

British intelligence: Victory Day parade showed problems in the Russian army

The UK Ministry of Defense said on Wednesday in its latest intelligence report that yesterday's Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square highlighted the equipment and strategic communications challenges facing Russia's military 15 months after the start of the war in Ukraine.

Although more than 8,000 people took part in the parade, the majority of the line-up was "auxiliaries, paramilitary forces and cadets from military training institutions". The only personnel from the combat formations of the regular forces were the contingents of the railway troops and the military police.

Also, the only tank in the parade was the retro T-34 machine. Despite heavy losses in Ukraine, Russia could have sent more armored vehicles, the Defense Ministry said in its latest report.

British military intelligence noted that although Moscow could have displayed more armored vehicles despite significant losses, the authorities probably refrained from doing so to "avoid internal criticism of prioritizing parades over combat operations".

"Politico": The US does not intend to send long-range missiles to Ukraine

The White House does not plan to follow the example of Great Britain and send long-range missiles to Ukraine, "Politico" reported, quoted by BTA.

Earlier, "Washington Post" reported that London is considering sending missiles with a range of up to 300 km to Kyiv, but a final decision on this issue has not yet been made.

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverley declined to comment on the publications during a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken yesterday.

Such characteristics have the American ATACMS missile systems, which Washington refuses to transfer to Ukraine.

A US official told reporters that "the ATACMS policy has not changed".

According to him, the US will continue to supply Ukraine with air defense equipment, ammunition and armored vehicles.

According to Politico, there are also concerns that the US does not have enough ATACMS in its arsenal.

"From a military point of view, we have relatively few ATACMS and we need to make sure we maintain our own stockpile of munitions," Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley told “Defense One” in March.

France to the EU: "Wagner" should be designated as a terrorist group

The French parliament has called on the European Union to officially designate the Russian mercenary group "Wagner" as a terrorist group, while the United Kingdom appears to be preparing to do the same, the "Guardian" reported.

The French parliament unanimously adopted a non-binding resolution aimed at encouraging the 27 EU member states to include Wagner on the official list of terrorist organizations.

"Wherever they work, Wagner members spread instability and violence," lawmaker Benjamin Haddad told parliament on Tuesday. "They kill and torture. They kill and rob. They intimidate and manipulate with almost complete impunity."

In his words, they are not ordinary mercenaries driven by an "appetite for money", but "follow a broad strategy, from Mali to Ukraine, to support the aggressive policies of the regime of President (Vladimir) Putin towards our democracies".

Being on the list of terrorist organizations means that EU countries can freeze the assets of the Wagner group and its members, and European companies and citizens will be prohibited from dealing with the group.

Wagner mercenaries spearheaded the months-long Russian attack on Bakhmut in Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the French parliament and called on other countries to follow his example. "Every manifestation of terrorism must be destroyed and every terrorist must be condemned," he said. On Tuesday, the “Times” newspaper reported that after two months of preparing the legal case, Britain will formally designate Wagner as a terrorist organization to increase pressure on Russia.

Awarding Wagner this status would make it a criminal offense in the UK to belong to the organization, attend events organized by it, express support for it or wear its symbols.

In addition, Wagner could be subject to financial sanctions and members of the organization could be banned from bringing claims against journalists and human rights defenders in British courts.

Britain's Foreign Office did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

"Wagner" and its leader Yevgeny Prigozhin have already been repeatedly sanctioned by the European Union and the United Kingdom.

Prigozhin’s EU assets were frozen in 2020 and he was put on a visa blacklist over the deployment of Wagner fighters to war-torn Libya, a decision he unsuccessfully appealed.

US announces additional military aid of USD 1.2 billion for Ukraine

The US on Tuesday announced additional USD 1.2 billion security assistance package for Ukraine to boost the country's air defenses and provide it with additional artillery ammunition.

"Today, the Department of Defense (DoD) announced a new security assistance package to reaffirm the steadfast US support for Ukraine, including bolstering its air defenses and sustaining its artillery ammunition needs. This package, which totals up to USD 1.2 billion, is being provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI)," the Defense Department said in a statement. The package underscores the continued US commitment to Ukraine "by committing critical near-term capabilities, such as air defense systems and munitions, while also building the capacity of Ukraine's armed forces to defend its territory and deter Russian aggression over the long term," added the statement.

This includes committing additional 155 mm artillery rounds and sustainment support to enable Ukraine to better maintain its on-hand systems and equipment.

The assistance comes in the form of Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funds, which pay for the procurement of equipment from the defense industry or partners rather than providing equipment from existing US stocks.

This avoids depleting US inventories but means the assistance will take longer to reach the battlefield.

"Unlike Presidential Drawdown authority (PDA), which DoD has continued to leverage to deliver equipment to Ukraine from DoD stocks at a historic pace, USAI is an authority under which the United States procures capabilities from industry or partners. This announcement represents the beginning of a contracting process to provide additional priority capabilities to Ukraine," added the statement.

The capabilities in this package include - Additional air defense systems and munitions; Equipment to integrate Western air defense launchers, missiles, and radars with Ukraine's air defense systems; Ammunition for counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems; 155mm artillery rounds; Commercial satellite imagery services; and Support for training, maintenance, and sustainment activities.

"The United States will continue to work with its Allies and partners to provide Ukraine with capabilities to meet its immediate battlefield needs and longer-term security assistance requirements," added the statement.

The United States has spearheaded the push for international support for Ukraine, quickly forging an international coalition to back Kyiv after Russia invaded in February 2022 and coordinating aid from dozens of countries.

Kyiv has pushed for some items that its international supporters have been reluctant to provide, including Patriot air defense systems and advanced heavy tanks -- which were eventually promised -- and others such as Western fighter aircraft, which have not been pledged so far.


Sofia Photo Agency